Published: Feb 15, 2011 7:41 PM EST
Updated: Feb 15, 2011 4:42 PM EST

ATLANTA - The full federal appeals court is debating whether the city of Orlando was right to restrict activists who give food to the homeless in a public park.

The 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals heard arguments Tuesday in a First Amendment case that stems from an ordinance that requires permits to feed 25 or more people and restricts the number of permits given in each park.

Orlando officials say feeding transients in the downtown park created safety and sanitary problems, but the group Orlando Food Not Bombs and a local church claimed they violated their ability to spread the message that having food is a basic right.

A three-judge panel earlier ruled Orlando's law was reasonable and constitutional, but all 11 judges are now reviewing it.

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